Alyacen 1 / 35 birth control

Name: Alyacen 1 / 35 birth control

What is Alyacen 1/35 (ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone birth control)?

Ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone is a combination drug that contains female hormones that prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). This medication also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

Ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone is used as contraception to prevent pregnancy.

There are many brands and forms of ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone available. Not all brands are listed on this leaflet, and not all brands are used for contraception.

Ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about birth control pills?

Do not use birth control pills if you are pregnant or if you have recently had a baby.

You should not take birth control pills if you have any of the following conditions: uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease, a blood-clotting disorder, circulation problems, diabetic problems with your eyes or kidneys, unusual vaginal bleeding, liver disease or liver cancer, severe migraine headaches, or if you have ever had breast or uterine cancer, jaundice caused by birth control pills, a heart attack, a stroke, or a blood clot.

Taking birth control pills can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack, especially if you have certain other conditions, or if you are overweight.

Smoking can increase your risk of blood clot, stroke, or heart attack while taking birth control pills. You should not take ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone if you smoke and are older than 35 years of age.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking birth control pills?

Taking birth control pills can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. You are even more at risk if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or if you are overweight. Your risk of stroke or blood clot is highest during your first year of taking birth control pills. Your risk is also high when you restart birth control pills after not taking them for 4 weeks or longer.

Smoking can greatly increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. Your risk increases the older you are and the more you smoke. You should not take combination birth control pills if you smoke and are over 35 years old.

Do not use if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant, or if you miss two menstrual periods in a row. If you have recently had a baby, wait at least 4 weeks before taking birth control pills.

You should not take birth control pills if you have:

  • untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure;

  • heart disease (coronary artery disease, uncontrolled heart valve disorder, history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clot);

  • a blood-clotting disorder or circulation problems;

  • problems with your eyes, kidneys or circulation caused by diabetes;

  • a history of hormone-related cancer such as breast or uterine cancer;

  • unusual vaginal bleeding that has not been checked by a doctor;

  • liver disease or liver cancer;

  • severe migraine headaches (with aura, numbness, weakness, or vision changes), especially if you are older than 35;

  • a history of jaundice caused by pregnancy or birth control pills; or

  • if you smoke and are over 35 years old.

To make sure birth control pills are safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • high blood pressure, varicose veins;

  • high cholesterol or triglycerides, or if you are overweight;

  • a history of depression;

  • underactive thyroid;

  • gallbladder disease;

  • diabetes;

  • seizures or epilepsy;

  • a history of irregular menstrual cycles;

  • tuberculosis; or

  • a history of fibrocystic breast disease, lumps, nodules, or an abnormal mammogram.

The hormones in birth control pills can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. This medication may also slow breast milk production. Do not use if you are breast feeding a baby.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What other drugs will affect birth control pills?

Some drugs can make birth control pills less effective, which may result in pregnancy. Other drugs may be affected by birth control pills. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide. Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to ethinyl estradiol / norethindrone: oral capsule, oral tablet, oral tablet chewable

General

A number of studies have suggested that use of oral contraceptives decreases the risk of ovarian cancer. Specifically, the risk of epithelial ovarian cancers is decreased by 40%. The protection against ovarian cancer may last for 10 to 15 years after discontinuation of oral contraceptives. After long term use (12 years), the risk of ovarian cancer is decreased by as much as 80%.

The risk of endometrial cancer is decreased by approximately 50%. Protection may last for 15 years after discontinuation and may be greatest for nulliparous women who may be at higher risk for endometrial carcinoma than other women.

The incidence of hospitalization for pelvic inflammatory disease is approximately 50% lower in women taking oral contraceptives. The reason for the decrease in the frequency (or severity) of pelvic inflammatory disease in women taking oral contraceptives has not been fully elucidated.

Some recent studies have suggested that the decrease in frequency of functional ovarian cysts reported with some older formulations may not occur in women taking newer low dose formulations.

One recent study (The Nurses' Health Study) has suggested that long term use of oral contraceptives is safe and does not adversely affect long term risk for mortality.[Ref]

Women taking oral contraceptive combinations may have experienced several non-contraceptive health benefits. These benefits include protection against two malignant neoplasms (endometrial carcinoma and ovarian cancer). In addition, use of oral contraceptive combinations has reportedly decreased the frequency of benign breast tumors, decreased the risk of ovarian cysts, decreased the risk of ectopic pregnancy, increased menstrual regularity, decreased the incidence of iron deficiency anemia, decreased the incidence of dysmenorrhea, and decreased the incidence of pelvic inflammatory disease.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea, which occurred in approximately 10% of treated women and was more frequent during the first cycles of therapy. Some early reports suggested an association between oral contraceptive use and gallbladder disease.[Ref]

Cases of oral contraceptive-induced esophageal ulceration and geographic tongue have been reported rarely.

More recent studies have suggested that the risk of gallbladder disease is minimal.[Ref]

Oncologic

Oncologic side effects have included reports of increased risk of invasive breast cancer. A large study (n = 16,608 postmenopausal women) of conjugated equine estrogens and medroxyprogesterone was terminated in 2002 due to the increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and pulmonary embolism. A number of studies have examined a possible relationship between the use of oral contraceptives and the development of breast cancer. Many of the studies have reported conflicting results. A committee of the World Health Organization evaluated these studies and the risks of breast cancer and concluded that: "Numerous studies have found no overall association between oral contraceptive use and risk of breast cancer." In addition, the same committee also examined a possible relationship between oral contraceptive use and neoplasms of the uterine cervix and concluded that: "There are insufficient data to draw any firm conclusions regarding the effects of combined oral contraceptives on the risk of cervical adenocarcinoma."[Ref]

The World Health Organization committee also noted that some studies "have found a weak association between long-term use of oral contraceptives and breast cancer diagnosed before the age of 36, and perhaps up to the age 45....It is unclear whether this observed association is attributable to bias, the development of new cases of cancer, or accelerated growth of existing cancers."

The World Health Organization committee further concluded that there is no increased risk of breast cancer in women over the age of 45 who have previously taken oral contraceptives. In addition, studies suggest that use of oral contraceptives does not place specific groups of women (like those with a family history of breast cancer) at higher or lower risk, and variations in the hormonal content of oral contraceptives do not influence the risk of breast cancer.

In general, studies evaluating the potential risk of cervical cancer in patients taking oral contraceptives have been complicated by the large number of confounding factors which make investigations into the epidemiology of this neoplasm difficult. Some studies have suggested that women taking oral contraceptives are at increased risk of dysplasia, epidermoid carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma of the cervix. However, other studies have not found such an association.[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Detailed information concerning the effects of oral contraceptive therapy on lipid metabolism is available in the Endocrine paragraph of this side effect monograph.

Some early investigations of women taking high dose estrogen combinations (50 mcg or more of ethinyl estradiol or equivalent daily) suggested that such women may be at increased risk of cardiovascular complications (myocardial infarction, stroke, and vascular thrombosis, including venous thromboembolism). However, more recent large investigations of women taking low dose estrogen combinations have suggested that oral contraceptive use is not associated with an increased risk of serious cardiovascular complications in healthy non smoking women up to the age of 45. (For women aged 35 to 44 who smoke or who have preexisting systemic diseases that may affect the cardiovascular system, use of oral contraceptives is not recommended.)

However, some investigators have suggested that even the new low dose products may result in adverse effects on lipid metabolism and should prompt careful review of a woman's cardiovascular risk factors before a decision to use oral contraceptive combinations is made.

The frequency of both subarachnoid hemorrhage and thrombotic stroke has been reported by some investigators to be higher in women taking oral contraceptive hormones. However, other investigators have suggested that the risk of these effects for women using newer low dose formulations are very small for young women without underlying cardiovascular disease or other risk factors.[Ref]

Cardiovascular side effects have included reports of increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and pulmonary embolism. A large study (n = 16,608 postmenopausal women) of conjugated equine estrogens and medroxyprogesterone was terminated in 2002 due to the increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and pulmonary embolism. Earlier studies had suggested that unopposed estrogen therapy may decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 35% and that combination therapy with a progestin may also decrease coronary risk. Cardiovascular side effects of the estrogen component of this combination have also included reports of hypertension. However, significant blood pressure increases generally occur only in women receiving high-dose estrogen products (50 mcg or more of ethinyl estradiol or equivalent daily). Estrogens have also been associated with edema. In addition, exogenous estrogens may exert cardioprotective effects by causing favorable changes in lipid profiles. These beneficial effects, however, may be partially or completely offset by alterations in lipid profiles induced by exogenous progestins.[Ref]

Endocrine

Endocrine side effects have included reports of complex alterations in plasma lipid profiles and carbohydrate metabolism. In addition, oral contraceptive use has been reported to cause conception delay.[Ref]

All the progestins which occur in commercially available oral contraceptive combinations have adverse effects on lipid profiles. Specifically, these progestins exert antiestrogen and androgen effects and decrease HDL (and HDL2) cholesterol levels and increase LDL cholesterol levels. However, the estrogens in oral contraceptive combinations exert opposing effects. Consequently, alterations in lipid profiles are related to the relative amount and potency of the specific estrogen and progestin in a given product. (Norethindrone exerts a moderate androgen effect and weak progestin and antiestrogen effects.)

A number of investigations have suggested that oral contraceptive combinations may decrease glucose tolerance. However, some recent studies with low dose preparations have suggested that decreases in glucose tolerance due to oral contraceptive combinations are generally minimal.

Despite the potentially adverse effects of oral contraceptives on lipid levels and glucose tolerance, some investigators have suggested that young diabetic women without existing vascular disease or severe lipidemias may be candidates for low dose oral contraceptive combinations provided that they receive close monitoring for adverse metabolic effects.[Ref]

Hepatic

Hepatic side effects have included focal nodular hyperplasia, intrahepatic cholestasis, liver cell adenomas, hepatic granulomas, hepatic hemangiomas and well-differentiated hepatocellular carcinomas, which have been reported rarely in association with estrogen therapy and therapy with oral contraceptive combinations.[Ref]

The rate of death due to hepatocellular carcinoma in the United States has not changed during the last 25 years (a time during which use of oral contraceptive hormones has increased dramatically).

A committee of the World Health Organization has reported that in developing countries where hepatitis B virus infection and hepatocellular carcinoma are common, "short term use of oral contraceptives does not appear to be associated with an increased risk. Data on the effects of long term use are scarce."

A recent Italian case-control study of women with hepatocellular carcinoma has suggested that the relative risk of hepatocellular carcinoma is 2.2 for oral contraceptive users compared to women who never used oral contraceptives.

A similar American case-control study from 1989 also reported a strong association between oral contraceptive use and hepatocellular carcinoma but concluded that: "If this observed association is causal, the actual number of cases of liver cancer in the United States attributable to oral contraceptive use is small. Therefore, these findings do not have public health importance in the United States and other Western nations."[Ref]

Hematologic

Cases of venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism (sometimes fatal), and arterial thrombosis have been reported rarely.

Previous thrombotic disease is considered a contraindication to use of oral contraceptive combinations.[Ref]

Hematologic side effects have included the risk of thromboembolism that is associated with the use of exogenous estrogens. However, because the dose of exogenous estrogens is low in most commercially available preparations, the risk of thromboembolism is minimal for most women (except women who are over age 35 and smoke and women with a history of previous thrombotic diseases).[Ref]

Genitourinary

Genitourinary side effects have commonly included breakthrough bleeding and spotting, especially during the first several cycles of oral contraceptive use. Non-hormonal causes of such bleeding should be excluded. Additional side effects reported with estrogen and/or progestin therapy include changes in vaginal bleeding pattern and abnormal withdrawal bleeding or flow, increase in size of uterine leiomyomata, vaginal candidiasis, change in amount of cervical secretion, change in cervical ectropion, ovarian cancer, endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial cancer and vaginitis.[Ref]

Some women experience oligomenorrhea and amenorrhea following termination or oral contraceptive use.[Ref]

Psychiatric

Psychiatric side effects have included depression and precipitation of panic disorder.[Ref]

Immunologic

Immunologic side effects have included rare cases of oral contraceptive-induced systemic lupus erythematosus.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included chorea, which has been reported once in association with oral contraceptives.[Ref]

Ocular

Ocular side effects have included rare cases of retinal thrombosis. In addition, the manufacturers of oral contraceptive products report that some patients develop changes in contact lens tolerance.[Ref]

Respiratory

Respiratory side effects have included reports of increased risk of pulmonary embolism. A large study (n = 16,608 postmenopausal women) of conjugated equine estrogens and medroxyprogesterone was terminated in 2002 due to the increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and pulmonary embolism.[Ref]

A case of fatal pulmonary venooclusive disease has been associated with oral contraceptive therapy.[Ref]

Some side effects of Alyacen 1 / 35 may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

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